Construction Cost

Prefabricated Modular Units Can Speed Development of Research Laboratory Space

Durable Materials Offer Strong Performance for Cleanroom Maintenance, Delivered in Ready-Made “Building Blocks”

Published 5-25-2022

When the National Institutes of Health was designing two new cleanroom research facilities, it faced familiar development challenges, including space constraints on an already-crowded campus, strict cleanroom guidelines, and the urgency to get scientists in the lab. The solution: prefabricated modular units. Executed well, the modular units shorten the design and construction schedule, provide better-quality spaces than stick-built laboratories or those employing modular panels that require on-site construction, and perform better for the scientific researchers who work in them.

Northwestern University Lab Building Exemplifies Next-Gen Workplace for Biomedical Research

Opened in 2019, the Light-Filled Facility Awaits a Vertical Addition of 16 Lab Floors

Published 3-2-2022

Build the first 14 floors now, then add a 16-story tower a decade or so into the future. That was Northwestern University’s unconventional approach to the construction of the Louis A. Simpson and Kimberly K. Querrey Biomedical Research Center on the Chicago campus of its Feinberg School of Medicine. It wasn’t the only out-of-the-box decision that enabled the university to move forward with its vision of creating a 1.2 million-sf, next-generation research hub about 10 miles south of its main campus in Evanston. Similarly inventive is the ownership arrangement of the first half, which became the largest academic biomedical research building in the U.S. when it opened in 2019. One of the medical school’s three major hospital affiliates, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, owns four of the nine lab floors (amounting to roughly 160,000 sf) and has easements to four-ninths of all the common space in the 625,000-sf structure.

Combining Generic/Flexible Labs with Highly Specialized Research Space

Evolving Design Approaches Balance a Wide Range of Scientific Needs

Published 2-16-2022

While creating generic/flexible lab spaces that can be adapted to a variety of different research needs continues to be the preferred approach—especially in higher education buildings—there is also a growing need for highly specialized lab and support facilities designed for very specific types of research. As a result, facility designers are increasingly tasked with balancing the demand for both open generic/flexible labs and specialized lab spaces in a single building with the added challenge of improving energy efficiency, sustainability, and operating costs.

Economic Bounce Driving Cost Volatility for Large Science and Technology Capital Construction Projects

Construction Cost Forecasts Indicate Importance of Timing for Contracting and Bid Packages

Published 12-15-2021

Pandemic-induced supply chain issues, increased commodity demand, and regional labor shortages are expected to drive annual construction cost escalation for large capital projects to record highs over the near- to mid-term future. While the compounded escalation rate for non-residential construction costs have trended around 3.5 percent annually for the past 30-plus years, many regions are expected to see double that escalation rate (or more) through at least 2023, according to current market forecasts.

Public-Private Partnership Fuels Interdisciplinary Campus Redevelopment

The Funding Model is a Gamechanger for the University of Kansas

Published 9-15-2021

The University of Kansas (KU) faced a daunting challenge: more than 11 million sf of facilities in 150 buildings whose average age was 45 years and a deferred maintenance backlog exceeding $350 million. At the same time, the university’s strategic plan set a goal of increasing research and discovery, and the resulting campus master plan prioritized the need for new research facilities. Realizing that goal while addressing the existing challenges could have taken decades using traditional funding models. The solution? The Integrated Science Building, KU’s $180 million large-scale public-private partnership (P3) for interdisciplinary campus development, which is breaking new ground in funding models, integration, management structure, and fundraising activities. With this initiative, the university took a “great leap forward” in academic and research programs, design decisions, space allocations, programming, and critical infrastructure upgrades, as well as making a bold step with the project delivery.